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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Wildcats basketball: Hill, Parrom not quite ready for reflection

Zack Rosenblatt

Kevin Parrom is honored after a 15-point win over Arizona State on Saturday. March 9, 2013.

Solomon Hill and Kevin Parrom stood at the end of Arizona’s bench, Hill’s right arm draped around Parrom’s shoulder, and each grinning from ear to ear.

The clock was winding down in their last-ever McKale Center game, and it was a good one.

The 18th-ranked Arizona Wildcats manhandled rival Arizona State, winning by 15 points to close out the regular season.

“A game like this, on senior night, against ASU,” Hill said, “was great.”

Hill was taken out with 1:12 left to a rousing standing ovation from McKale’s sold-out crowd of 14,545 people, and on his way to the bench, Hill held a loving embrace with head coach Sean Miller.

Then, 15 seconds later, Parrom exited too, bear-hugged Miller, and joined Hill and senior point guard Mark Lyons at the end of the bench.

The Wildcats are pushing the NCAA to grant Parrom one more year with a hardship waiver, but for all intents and purposes that was Parrom’s final McKale Center moment.

“It’s a lot of emotions,” said Parrom, describing how he felt as he exited a game at McKale for the last time.

“My mother, my grandmother. All I’ve been through. All the coaching staff, my father, brother, it was a good moment for me and a moment I won’t ever forget.”

Parrom’s been through a lot — a 2011-12 season from hell included the death of his mother and grandmother, two gunshot wounds and a season-ending foot injury — but as he and Hill stood there, their long-winding four year careers at the UA came to a head.

What started with a 92-76 exhibition win against Augustana College in 2009 ended with a 73-58 win against their bitter rivals.

Lyons’ stint at the UA was short-lived — he’s a senior transfer from Xavier — but the Wildcats certainly couldn’t have been 24-6 without him.

In the days leading up to Saturday afternoon’s contest, Parrom declared that Arizona would win the game.

“Me, Solomon and Mark couldn’t go out like that losing,” Parrom said. “It feels good when we beat ASU. It’s a rivalry game no one wants to lose this game especially on senior night, so I kinda guaranteed it, but we played hard. We worked for it.”

Against the Sun Devils, Lyons struggled. He had eight points on 2-of-10 shooting, three turnovers, zero assists and capped his career at McKale with a technical foul toward the end of the game.

But, it was more Hill and Parrom’s night anyway.

In Hill and Parrom’s four years at McKale Center, there were 66 regular season home games played there. Hill played in every one. Parrom missed his fair share, but he’s certainly been an important cog in Miller’s first four years as UA head coach.

On Saturday, Parrom was solid. He garnered 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Hill’s numbers weren’t otherworldly — 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, three steals — but he had a signature, emphatic dunk off a steal late in the game to put the Wildcats up 13 and put a nail in the Sun Devils’ coffin.

When it was over, Hill wasn’t quite ready for reflection.

There were highs (Elite Eight run in 2011) and lows (missing two NCAA tournaments), but Hill didn’t want to talk about that.

“It’s not over,” Hill said. “It’s Senior Night, and I understand playing in front of McKale [for the last time] but we still have a lot of basketball left. When people said ‘are you gonna cry or anything like that?’ I was like ‘no, its not my last game.’ So I don’t think there’s anything to cry about. I haven’t reflected on it yet, nothing has hit me because we have another game.”

Fact: Arizona will be in the NCAA tournament.

The win didn’t wind up having any impact on the standings, though. The Wildcats will be a four seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, and will face either Colorado or Oregon State on Thursday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Inconsistencies in Pac-12 play might have been alarming, but a dominant win against ASU to close out the regular season might do wonders for the Wildcats’ momentum.

Maybe in the same way as it did two years ago when Derrick Williams carried the Wildcats to the Elite Eight.

This squad, like that one, was swept in its last road trip of the season to USC and UCLA.

This squad closed its regular season out with a dominant win, that squad handily beat Oregon and Oregon State to win the UA’s first Pac-12 title in six years.

Four losses in eight games prevented that from being a possibility for this year’s Wildcats, so UCLA won the regular season title with a win at Washington on Saturday.

“Sometimes the hungrier team is the team that didn’t quite achieve what they wanted to,” Miller said. “By the same token, we are 24-6 and there is no one in our locker room that doesn’t understand a lot of great thigns have happened for us. Now, you only play the regular season to position yourself for March, and hopefully we’re gonna play our best basketball right now.”

— Zack Rosenblatt is a Journalism senior. He can be reached at or via Twitter @ZackBlatt

Check out the game recap, game notes, and a story about what’s to come in Las Vegas.

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